The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC Alliance will launch its own radio station Change Radio, TV station and re-launching its newspaper, The Changing Times ahead of 2023 harmonised elections to counter the “State media propaganda,” says party Secretary-General Chalton Hwende.
In a statement seen by Nehanda Radio, Hwende said the opposition party will also amplify its presence on social media.
“To circumvent the media blackout and negative propaganda against the People’s Party by state media, the party through its Communications Department has launched its own radio station Change Radio and will soon be launching its own TV station and re-launching its newspaper The Changing Times,” he said.
“The party has also put in place measures to amplify its presence on social media and all digital platforms. We are not leaving anything to chance.”
This comes after reports that claim that Zimbabwe’s media coverage of the run up to 2018 general elections was biased and partisan as it covered Zanu PF rallies while ignoring the opposition.
Hwende added that the MDC Alliance’s rural mobilisation exercise that targets six million voters ahead of 2023 elections was gaining momentum.
He said through the mantra, “Citizen Convergence for Change” the mobilisation was causing “panic” within the ruling party.
“The party’s rural mobilisation and recruitment programme is gaining momentum. This has caused panic and despondency within Zanu PF,” Hwende said.
“The Zimbabwe Agenda 2021 which seeks to bring Zimbabweans together under Citizens Convergence for Change has been a resounding success following overwhelming response from citizens in both rural and urban areas. Citizens across the country are converging under the common agenda of resisting authoritarian consolidation and demanding a new government.”
He added that the opposition party has launched a voter registration campaign that targets six million people.
“Currently the party through its Elections Directorate has launched a voter registration campaign whose ultimate objective is to register and garner 6 million votes for the People’s Party in the 2023 general elections,” he said.
The last time Zimbabwe held an election was on July 30, 2018 when President Emmerson Mnangagwa controversially beat MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
The election was characterised by violence after riot police used force to clamp down on post-election protests in Harare on August 1, 2018.
Soldiers and anti-riot police were implicated in the deaths of at least six people and serious injuries to dozens more. Three days later, Mnangagwa was declared winner of the disputed elections with 50.8 per cent of the total votes cast to Chamisa’s 44.3 percent.
Chamisa and his party disagreed with the result and approached the courts arguing that the votes had been stolen. But Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court unanimously declared Mnangagwa’s victory in the presidential election.
Against this background, the opposition resolved to push for the following electoral reforms that it wants instituted ahead of the much anticipated harmonised elections.
- We call for professional and transparent delimitation and census processes as well as a sincere voter registration drive before the delimitation process.
- Zimbabweans living in the diaspora must be allowed to vote in line with section 67 of the Constitution.
- Violence must not be tolerated.
- There should be equal access to public media.
- Distribution of food and inputs must be non-partisan.
- Traditional leaders and all civil servants must work professionally without partisan political interference.
- When a person reaches 18 years of age, they must automatically be registered as a voter.
- The country’s election management body must be independent, impartial and professional.